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Thread: Festool Kapex Failed

  1. #1
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    Festool Kapex Failed

    For those of you who have a Festool Kapex, I suppose you've heard of the notorious motor failure problem. I had heard of it before I bought my Kapex in 2016, but I was feeling lucky and figured it wouldn’t happen to me.

    Well, it did.

    It’s a well-known problem and there’s a lot of information about the parts needed and how to replace them. I ordered the parts today, Festool calls it an “end shield, part number 203552, which is really a replacement armature. I also ordered new brushes which I’ll replace at the same time (part number 494785). Total was a bit over $350. I sure wasn't going to send it in for repair. Reports are that would cost $600-$800, plus shipping a heavy, bulky unit. I'd buy a new, non-Festool, miter saw before I did that.

    Should get the parts in a week – I’ll let you know how it goes with the repair.

    The motor is really just a universal motor (same as you'd have on a router) and having it fail on so many units is just inexcusable, especially on a tool as expensive as the Kapex. I bought it in 2016 so it’s not really that old, and I use it just “in shop” for hobby work. It was certainly not overworked.

    Even though I knew of the problem, and that it might happen to me, does not absolve Festool from putting out a product that fails so often.

    Mike

    [I have a PDF on how to do the repair - it's from the Festool Owner's Group - but it's too big to attach here. If you need it and can't find it on FOG, contact me and I'll send it to you.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 06-24-2024 at 8:14 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear that, Mike. That must be an amazing saw to put another $350 into it. You could buy a pretty sweet old Dewalt RAS for that. The MBF is an amazing trim saw and doesn't take up much more space than a CMS. Lack of portability is the only downside.

    John

  3. #3
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    I got a couple of private messages asking for the repair pdf. There's one "special" tool required - a long T25 Torx screwdriver. Given the location of the screw and the problem I'd have if I bunged up the head, I ordered a set of 300mm Wera Torx screwdrivers, part number 028074. You don't need the full 300mm but better safe than sorry.

    Here's a link to the thread on FOG that talks about this problem - moderators, if a link to another forum is not allowed, please delete.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    Sorry to hear that, Mike. That must be an amazing saw to put another $350 into it. You could buy a pretty sweet old Dewalt RAS for that. The MBF is an amazing trim saw and doesn't take up much more space than a CMS. Lack of portability is the only downside.

    John
    I certainly thought along that line, John, but I just couldn't throw the Festool away. I have a hard time throwing anything away that can be repaired. Probably comes from my hardscrabble youth.

    It has one feature that I really like, and use - other miter saws may also have that feature. It's the ability to cut a dado. You can adjust the drop on the saw so that it only cuts part way into the wood.

    [Thinking further, I'd repair it under any situation. If I tried to sell it "as is" I wouldn't get much for it. If I was going to sell it, I'd do better to repair it and sell it working, and disclose the repair.]

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 06-25-2024 at 10:53 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    I certainly thought along that line, John, but I just couldn't throw the Festool away. I have a hard time throwing anything away that can be repaired. Probably comes from my hardscrabble youth.

    It has one feature that I really like, and use - other miter saws may also have that feature. It's the ability to cut a dado. You can adjust the drop on the saw so that it only cuts part way into the wood.

    Mike
    I would say that most "decent" quality miter saws adopted that feature years ago.
    My Bosch from 2013 has it and my 2023 $139 HF has it. It's not as unique as it once was.

    Unfortunately, this is a "common" issue with these saws, (mostly the ones for the U.S. market).
    I know there was a recall on these in Europe, I don't know about the U.S.
    You would think a company like Festool would have a standard repair kit available, one that included a bit.
    It seems, over here anyway, they don't even acknowledge there is an issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Weber View Post
    Unfortunately, this is a "common" issue with these saws, (mostly the ones for the U.S. market).
    I know there was a recall on these in Europe, I don't know about the U.S.
    You would think a company like Festool would have a standard repair kit available, one that included a bit.
    It seems, over here anyway, they don't even acknowledge there is an issue.
    When I called Festool and told them I had a failed Kapex, the guy knew what parts to order. I expect they get reports of Kapex failures fairly often.

    [Universal motors have been around for a LONG time. The designer(s) who designed the one for the Kapex made some mistake in the design. A well designed universal motor should last a long time - you should be able to wear out at least one pair of brushes - maybe two - before the armature, itself, fails.]

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 06-25-2024 at 11:33 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    When I called Festool and told them I had a failed Kapex, the guy knew what parts to order. I expect they get reports of Kapex failures fairly often.

    Mike
    Why is this post only allowed to have support for Mike's opinion and those with a similar tilt? Other posts were removed yesterday.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    Why is this post only allowed to have support for Mike's opinion and those with a similar tilt? Other posts were removed yesterday.
    Your post from yesterday was nothing more than you attacking him for his decisions on what he bought, what he knew and his decision to repair his tool.

    I also never indicated that I share Mikes opinion. I don't own a Kapex, I find them far too expensive for a simple saw, not to mention quality/longevity issues.

    It's called civil discourse, we don't have to agree 100% with someone to be polite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Weber View Post
    Your post from yesterday was nothing more than you attacking him for his decisions on what he bought, what he knew and his decision to repair his tool.

    I also never indicated that I share Mikes opinion. I don't own a Kapex, I find them far too expensive for a simple saw, not to mention quality/longevity issues.

    It's called civil discourse, we don't have to agree 100% with someone to be polite.
    What I called him out for was his lack of accepting any blame. It was not an attack. All the other posts were removed and the post was started at zero responses. He was allowed to take another punch at Festool in his edited post. "Even though I knew of the problem, and that it might happen to me, does not absolve Festool from putting out a product that fails so often."Are you a moderator Edward? No moderator contacted me. Civil discourse I agree with, but a disagreement may not be delivered with a hug. I am a Kapex owner with absolutely no issues. Mike implied that the failure rate was very high. If it is that high, it makes no sense that people are still buying them.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post

    Even though I knew of the problem, and that it might happen to me, does not absolve Festool from putting out a product that fails so often.

    Mike

    [I have a PDF on how to do the repair - it's from the Festool Owner's Group - but it's too big to attach here. If you need it and can't find it on FOG, contact me and I'll send it to you.]
    What is the failure rate?

  11. #11
    you want to cut dadoes then get a radial. .

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    What is the failure rate?
    There's nothing published but I've thought about it. It has to be under 50% because a failure rate higher than that would cause them to take some serious action. Based on the number of people reporting problems, it's higher than 5%.

    So about the best guess that I've been able to come up with is maybe 20%. Could be higher over the full life of the saw.

    I further assume Festool has done some things to fix the problem so the problem probably only shows up on the older saws.

    But your guess on a failure rate is as good as mine.

    If you accept my guess, then a person purchasing a Kapex back in 2016 had an 80% chance of not having the problem. I understood the risks when I purchased it and took the chance - and lost my bet.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 06-25-2024 at 3:36 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Lake View Post
    you want to cut dadoes then get a radial. .
    For sure, Warren. I love my TWO radial arm saws. I just cut some nearly 6 inch long tenons yesterday on one of them using a dado stack.

    Being able to cut dados or rabbets (slowly, because you are still using the same blade) on a CMS is sort of a stop gap measure when you're away from your shop and need to make a dado or two, like for building a door jamb. It's a very handy feature, one my Bosch DCMS does not have, unfortunately.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    Are you a moderator Edward? No moderator contacted me.
    There is no requirement for a moderator to contact anyone when a post is removed. Your post was reported as a concern and one or more of the moderators agreed that the post appeared to be more of a personal attack than a comment on the topic at hand.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    What I called him out for was his lack of accepting any blame. It was not an attack. All the other posts were removed and the post was started at zero responses. He was allowed to take another punch at Festool in his edited post. "Even though I knew of the problem, and that it might happen to me, does not absolve Festool from putting out a product that fails so often."Are you a moderator Edward? No moderator contacted me. Civil discourse I agree with, but a disagreement may not be delivered with a hug. I am a Kapex owner with absolutely no issues. Mike implied that the failure rate was very high. If it is that high, it makes no sense that people are still buying them.
    I am not a moderator on this forum nor did I report your post, I just call it like I see it.
    I can only guess that the powers that be here at SMC, had the same thoughts, only a guess.
    IMO it was over the top and unnecessary
    OP knew the risks, bought the tool, the tool failed, now he's repairing it and sharing his experience for other in the same situation.
    Whether he accepted blame or not is up to him, It was Festool that continued to sell tools with a known issue that they still won't acknowledge in some areas. OP took a gamble and now he's paying for it but helping others at the same time.
    I could in no way tell you an accurate number for a failure rate, I do know it was high enough in other countries that there was a recall.

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